You may not know Maureen, our soon-to- be-retired Materials and Technology Division chief, but her effect on Arlington Public Library is everywhere. A person who has never sought the limelight deserves now to be celebrated for a record of accomplishment that has helped make Arlington Public Library the premier system it is.
So just who is Maureen Karl? The facts tell us something. Maureen arrived at APL in 1999 from by way of a small law firm in Washington D.C. following stints at Canton Public Library and Kent State in Ohio.
Her strengths in cataloging and technical services (including overseeing the implementation of large scale projects like online library catalogs) brought her to Arlington.Yet once here, she added responsibility for collections development to the aforementioned and here is where she truly shone brightest–advocating for the collection, watching closely the national trends in publishing and library circulation, pushing us to explore new media (such as downloadables) to meet patrons’ needs.
And she found time and energy to be the Library’s principal liaison with the Friends of the Arlington Public Library, helping them achieve their goal of the $1 million endowment initiated by my predecessor, Ann Friedman. The endowment will forever be the gift that keeps on giving, a legacy of Ann Friedman’s prescience and Maureen’s commitment to the residents of Arlington and the users of its libraries.
Still can’t place her? Maureen’s a doting grandmother, a deft writer, a champion of core library services, a patient mentor, a trusted colleague, an all-weather friend. She remembers birthdays and is good for a cake from Randolph’s. She hosted the most elegant staff holiday luncheons. She’s the one who sends the cards, remembers the welcome gift, brings the flowers and leaves a place better than when she arrived.
Is there anything else you should know? Her colleagues describe her variously as gracious and generous; smart and sensible. The linchpin, the glue, a roll-up-her-sleever, a consummate professional. And tall. All in all, a class act in spite of a predilection (which I share, in part) for some sketchy confections like Necco wafers, Valentine Conversation Hearts and candy corn.
The mark of a true talent is to make it look easy. And Maureen did. She made a lot happen, and shouldered a lot of responsibility in her own quiet way and with good cheer, doubtless buoyed by the many aphorisms handed down from her mother that surfaced in our conversations through the years. Sayings like “Can’t never did anything; try did it all.” And “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” The kinds of things people don’t say anymore but that are powerful in their understated effect. Like Maureen.
So, now that you know Maureen as we have come to know her, she must bid us “so long.” Off to reclaim her roots in Pittsburgh, home of Isaly’s Original Chipped Chopped Ham, Iron City Beer and the Klondike Bar. We will miss her–and we know you will, too.
And we’re glad you finally got to know her.